Anti-Black Violence in Twentieth-Century Texas

Anti-Black Violence in Twentieth-Century Texas

Anti-Black Violence in Twentieth-Century Texas

Anti-Black Violence in Twentieth-Century Texas


Anti-Black Violence in Twentieth-Century Texas provides an arresting look at the history of violence against African Americans in Texas.

From a lynching in Paris at the turn of the century to the 1998 murder of Jasper resident James Byrd Jr., who was dragged to death behind a truck, this volume uncovers the violent side of race relations in the Lone Star State.

Historian Bruce A. Glasrud has curated an essential contribution to Texas history and historiography that will also bring attention to a chapter in the state's history that, for many, is still very much a part of the present.


Wanton anti-black violence by whites has always been a part of the African American experience. Stemming from the days of slavery, when slave-owners used violence to impose a forced labor system and to keep enslaved African Americans in fear, violence against African Americans became, to paraphrase the words of Rap Brown, “as American as apple pie.” Yet, one reads in contemporary social media and in recent polls the constant contention that whites are actually the long-suffering victims of black violence. Indeed, many of the recent killings of unarmed African American men by law enforcement officers, as well as by white citizens, have been justified as a legitimate response to perceived and imagined black violence against whites. the same sources have even attributed the disproportionate number of incarcerated young African American men to the ongoing notion of black violence against whites. in short, since African Americans commit so many violent acts against innocent white victims, any violent acts against them (even those who are innocent) by law enforcement officers and random white citizens are more than justified.

Bruce Glasrud’s volume of essays tells a different story. It rebuts the ongoing lie that black violence against whites caused and has continued to cause the taking of black lives. These essays document patterns of anti-black violence that have become endemic not only in the state of Texas, but also throughout the nation. These essays are a much-needed corrective to a historic and contemporary narrative and discourse that African American citizens have been and continue to be a threat to whites.

In reality, these essays about anti-black violence in Texas only scratch the surface of an ongoing history of abuse, racial intimidation, and violence. For example, none of them address the history of anti-black violence that occurred in the city of Dallas. in Dallas, incidents of anti-black violence occurred with such frequency that recounting them would form more than a substantial part of the current volume. Here are some examples. in 1910, Allen Brooks, a black man accused of raping a white child, was mobbed by . . .

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